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A Legion to call our own


As the summer winds down, there are still a few events taking place in our communities that warrant our presence.  This was the case on Thursday August 23, when Planeview Place, the seniors’ lodge in downtown Leduc, held its Annual Family BBQ. Originally set to happen outside under a large tent, the event was moved indoors when it became obvious that the weather was not going to cooperate. In fact, that’s the night when a nasty hail storm made the headlines.  Catering to more than 400 hundred guests, this Family BBQ was a sweet opportunity for Planeview residents to celebrate the end of summer with loved ones. A delicious dinner was served, and a lively band, the Chwill Brothers, kept the festive mood alive. Congrats to the Leduc Foundation for encouraging its properties to celebrate life and family this way!
I had the pleasure of being a guest at another celebration of volunteerism in the City of Leduc.  Our Royal Canadian Legion Branch 108 held its Annual Volunteer Appreciation Gala this past Saturday August 24. This is practically a ‘must’, as the Legion has survived a tough economy thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers. The past decades have seen Canadian Legion halls face challenges that only hope and hard work could conquer: this winning battle also took place in this city. Under the firm leadership of Joy Krueger and the focus of this executive, the Leduc Legion can celebrate its most noteworthy members and volunteers. 
On Saturday August 25th, a lively crowd of 200 guests gathered in the Legion Hall in Leduc, and enjoyed a lavish dinner, prepared by the Legion chef Roxanne Hughes. The newly-elected president, Iain Weikl was a no-nonsense (and funny) master of ceremonies, calling to the front selected recipients of long-term membership pins.  Assisted by the event’s Sergeant-at-arms Sean Cuppins, - dynamic and friendly Legion VP and former Infantry soldier- Mr. Weikl recognized nearly 30 people who have been Legion members for 30, 25, 20 and 15 years. Comrade Melvin Barr was presented with a 60-year membership pin. Mr. Barr joined the Canadian Infantry in 1939, then the medical Corps: he served at Dieppe, retired from the Military in 1946, and has been a Leduc resident since 1971. Comrade Dave McHarg received a 50-year membership pin: he was described, tongue-in-cheek, as an “establishment of his own in this town”: he joined the military in 1943, left after a few years and became a pharmacist through the University of SK.  In 1963, he purchased his employer’s business and McHarg Drugs was born: Mr. McHarg was well-known for his generosity, including his sponsorship of the Legion’s Annual Kids’ Christmas Party. At one point, he donated a steer for a raffle that greatly contributed to the construction of this Legion’s spacious Banquet Hall.  
These 2 impressive membership pin presentations were followed by other long-term membership recognitions in the form of lovely rose bouquets and an appreciation pin to three ladies who were “difference-makers” at the Legion in recent past;  Roxanne Hughes (chef), Dolores Krozier (tireless Bingo coordinator) and Jolan Naismith. This young woman is a University Student, soon to be a graduate of Accounting Management and she dedicated the last eighteen months as the Legion treasurer: her youthful energy, solid skills and friendly demeanor made her quite popular with the executive. Facing the last few months of her degree, she will continue her role despite a heavy work load.  I met a congenial 20-year Legion member who became a member at the age of fifteen at his father’s request: Kent Gorham is a native of the Maritimes, a Level 3 Curling and Lacrosse coach who really appreciates this Legion, and the friends he has made through his membership here. There is a wide variety of personalities in the Legion membership: youth who value the contribution that military personnel have made to Canadians’ quality of life, serving military personnel and others with relatives who were in the wars to protect the freedom we enjoy today. Also, there are members who simply appreciate good food and good music.  
Displaying Canadian military memorabilia of museum quality, with frequent functions catering to private groups and corporate entities, this Royal Canadian Legion is definitely another jewel in the City of Leduc’s crown: with new members being welcomed –and hoped for- all year long, it plans on remaining alive and prospering for many years to come!
While this function was taking place, a group of family and friends were celebrating in the Legion’s Sports Lounge: I would like to say “Happy Birthday!” to a caring and fun dad and grand-pa and a good friend, Mr. Richard ¬Davie of Leduc. 
Thanks for your friendly notes and feedback! I can be found at dominique@pipestoneflyer.ca. Enjoy the last of Summer, Friends! 

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